There’s (almost) no such thing as a free lunch….

So, here we are, back in Spain. The sun is shining, the horrible hot wind we get in southern Spain (El Terral) has finally died down and we’ve caught our breath from the long drive.  We’re very lucky to have two lovely homes, but when you get back to a house that has been shut up for a few months, you find that the dust monsters have been to visit. We managed avoidance tactics for a few days with a combination of going out to catch up with people, and staying in feeling grumpy and full of cold (me)/Man Flu (Big Man) germs.

Finally the day came when we couldn’t ignore The Big Clean Up any more and today we made a start. Mrs and Mrs Mop began a vaguely systematic attack on the house and garden and, while there is still plenty more to be done, we felt satisfied that we deserved a nice lunch in the garden. Spring and autumn are perfect for outdoor lunchtime dining. Sometimes you get a lovely warm day in winter or a cool summer day which also permit al fresco lunches…but you definitely make the most of those perfect days.

In Spanish terms, it was almost dangerously vegetarian (well, apart from the seafood and salami). We didn’t worry, the village fiesta is upon us and we know we’ll be eating our own body weight in grilled meat and pinchitos (little kebabs) over the next few days. What did make us smile was the fact that pretty much everything we were eating had been gifted to us by kindly friends and family, or recycled from another meal. It’s good to be a frugal houseperson when the food is this good!

Lunch included:

Salmorejo (my very favourite cold soup) made from stale bread and tomatoes given to us by kindly brother-in-law. These are the ripe and ugly tomatoes which are used for soups and sauces

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Garnished with hard boiled eggs from kindly neighbour who adopted our chickens and jamon (bought from local butcher)

Salad made with leftover prawns and squid which had been barbecued the night before and avocados from kindly neighbour who also keeps us supplied with oranges later in the year to make marmalade.

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Tomato, mint and onion salad made with “tomates para picar” (tomatoes for chopping up!), again from kindly brother-in-law and mint from our garden.

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Salads dressed with our own olive oil and juice from our lemons

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Cheese and salchichon (salami). Salchichon given to us by kindly local bar owner as a welcome home present.

Apple Sorbet 003

Dessert was figs from our tree and apple sorbet made with apples from kindly cousin. Inspired by Rosemary’s ice cream making, I dug out my own ice-cream maker. To serve 2 people – 500g apples (peeled and cored), cooked with 2 tablespoons of sugar, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice then blended, cooled and churned in my machine. Maybe I should make more Apple Roses – I certainly have enough fruit!

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I drank a glass (or two) of Spanish wine, but Big Man was clearly feeling a bit nostalgic for England and opened a bottle of English beer.

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I thought we’d bought those beers with us as gifts for kindly friends and family. Ooops!

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PS. You know we hate waste here….the prawn shells are now bubbling away to make stock…maybe we’ll have an “arroz caldoso” in the next few days…

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55 thoughts on “There’s (almost) no such thing as a free lunch….

  1. How fantastic – I notice you’ve got some jamón in the salmoreco as seasoning – that’ll keep the Inquisition away 😉
    I had a lovely lunch on a rooftop off Oxford Street with a vegetarian friend recently. The salad was topped with sardines and little pieces of chorizo. When I asked if she was still vegetarian, she said that the chorizo was just flavouring! She’s English, but must have some Spanish in there somewhere…

    1. I don’t even mention jamón anymore when I talk about meat – they offer it to vegetarians in a tortilla here as the meat free option! Did chuckle at your friend’s attitude to the chorizo – definitely a Spanish approach there!

  2. I only tried salmorejo once and I really loved it. It must be lovely to do swaps like this with the neighbours, Tanya. 🙂 I bought some fresh figs in Aldi today but I doubt they’ll have much flavour.

    1. I think figs are so fragile and ripen very quickly after being picked (if they’re not ripe when you pick them) so to get them all the way to England in perfect condition is a tough thing to do L If they’re a bit sad, have a Roman breakfast and eat them with focaccia, olive oil and coarse salt – you’ll be amazed!

  3. Flamboyant, frugal and fantastic just like YOU Ms Chica! Here’s hoping the lurgy slinks off to a corner someplace and lets you explore your late season Spanishness sans sick. I had to laugh when I saw the bit about the salami gift. Seems you have been missed at the pub eh? Profits went down significantly when you departed to Auld Blighty methinks ;). Enjoy the HECK out of those figs, tomatoes and all of that gorgeous soul food. It will do wonders for your current desire to clean the house (i.e. you will be too busy eating glorious food to notice the dust bunnies 😉 ).

    1. I had to laugh at your comment about the gift from the pub – I suspect there may be some truth in it! I like your style – enjoy the food and therefore become too busy to clean J Sounds like a life plan to me!

  4. delicious and cheap it sounds very interesting , but it is also a necessary ingredient is very easy to be found in supermarkets and even in markets though.
    the menu is delicious and cheap and that certainly will not drain the wallet is amazing Mrs.Chica every writing is always impressed me amazed 😀

  5. Oh PALEEZ let me come and live with you when my Pete is away – okay, maybe just every second trip, I need to keep my weight down just a little bit.
    Have a beautiful weekend Tanya.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  6. You are such an inspiration to me Chic! I’ve just planted my tomato seedlings and cannot wait for that real tomato taste of summer, not the hard cricket balls we get in the shops. My hubby won’t eat fresh tomato so they are all mine! Love your apple ice cream recipe to. I saw Nigel Slater make a lovely custard and apple version on tv once and have always wanted to replicate it. I hope both you and the big man are all better from your colds? Love from Albany, Western Australia xox Cathy.

    1. Hi Cathy and thanks for your kind words and good wishes! All recovered now and making the most of things here in Spain. Love the idea of apple and custard ice cream….yum! Good luck with the tomatoes, nothing beats home grown 🙂

  7. What a beautiful array of dishes Tanya! I’m envious for all the produce that you’ve grown or been given by kindly friends and family. Must be wonderful to be back in your Spanish home for a time… look forward to the posts to come. 🙂

  8. Salmorejo is my very favourite soup too! It just doesn’t taste the same in an English autumn – although it’s been so sunny and warm for the last few days, I might just about get away with it. Of course, we need some lovely ripe Spanish tomatoes to make it with too. The best way to eat figs is straight off the tree, when they’ve been warmed by the Andalucian sunshine!

  9. Bienvenido de regreso a Espana! How cool. What a wonderful meal. I love salmorejo and I love how you’re using the left over shells as a stock. The cheese and charcuterie look perfect. I hope you get rid of all of those germs soon so you can enjoy the new season and the collision of wonderful end of summer produce and fall wonderfulness. Enjoy!

  10. Wow this article interesting. This recipe the first time I saw. But it is quite tempting to try. Especially in Indonesia is now a very long summer. The menu is suitable to accompany the weather was very hot. Let us try

    1. At the moment we’re more in England than Spain – a few years ago it was the other way round. We are lucky that we have family, friends and homes in both places. We are blessed!

  11. Looks so delicious … I hope someday I can visit there to try the delicious and healthy food. I am from Indonesia, do you like Indonesian food?

  12. Love your almost free lunch thanks to friends and family…especially made with so many fresh ingredients. Hope you are both feeling better.

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